MindManager is an incredibly versatile and useful program but it has its shortcomings, so I thought I’d start an occasional series of articles on how to overcome some of these. Many of these posts are based on solutions I’ve suggested in response to questions on the Mindjet community forum. Welcome to the first in the series, on selecting topics by level.
UPDATE: I’m very pleased that this feature has been added to the latest version (3.8) of the MAP add-in from Olympic Limited. This has a wide range of features that I’ll be reviewing shortly, but it offers a simpler way to access topic selection than using WordX2 (which obviously has other uses).
One of the puzzling aspects of MindManager is the lack of any provision to select topics automatically at the same level across branches. Apart from Main Topics (which I will come to in moment), MM does not appear to offer an easy way to do this – or at least none that I can find.
MM obviously “knows” about its own topic levels – it automatically allocates the appropriate level whenever you add a topic or sub-topic. In addition it also matches the topic level to the relevant heading or paragraph style based on the template used when a map is exported to Word; this information is also available to third-party add-ins.
However MM does not extend this facility to end users, despite the many other selection options provided. Topic level selection is not provided as an option for filtering or searching, nor can it be used as a trigger in conditional formatting or as a range in formulas. The only “official” ways to select topics (besides Main Topics) at the same level manually are using the shift or control keys, or highlighting them with the mouse.
This is frustrating as there are many situations in which the ability to select by topic level throughout a map would be very useful, for example, if you want to quickly change the appearance of a whole layer of topics or to add an icon or tag to them. It would also be helpful to be able to specify topic levels in formulas, so that you could sum or average a numeric topic property at the same level across branches.
I don’t know why MindManager’s creators have made this so difficult, but I can suggest a couple of workarounds to make topic level selectable. The first one which applies only to Main Topics is more of a neglected command than a workaround, while the second can be easily applied at any topic level but requires the use of an add-in. Continue reading